January 28, 2009

Two Colorado newspapers spar over money

Two Colorado newspapers are sparring over $13 million one of the papers allegedly borrowed from a joint operating agency to cover payroll costs.

Executives from E.W. Scripps Co., owner of the Rocky Mountain News, accused The Denver Post of borrowing the sum without its knowledge, the Rocky Mountain News reported Wednesday.

We request that this practice cease and that the Post find a way to fund its editorial payroll without resorting to this, E.W. Scripps President and Chief Executive Officer Rich Boehne and Vice President Mark Contreras wrote in a letter to Post executives.

The letter was sent in December within a week of Scripps' announcement that it was trying to sell the Rocky Mountain News.

Joseph Lodovic, president of MediaNews Group Inc., which owns the Post, called the allegations factually inaccurate.

The agency owes us money, too, I can assure you, he said. Money goes back and forth all the time. All balances will get wiped out altogether in the end.

Lodovic said Scripps, if it leaves the business, would be in breach of the agreement by failing to provide content to the Post.

Scripps and MediaNews are each losing about $4 million per quarter, the News said.